17 Jan What Watch Would James Bond Really Wear?
With the release of the new Bond watch from Omega for the upcoming No Time To Die, a question popped in to my head: What watch would Fleming’s literary 007 wear today? In the films, Bond has one (or even two) new watches for each movie. Of course Daniel Craig’s choice of wristwatch is driven by commercialism on Omega’s part, rather than what’s necessarily best for the character.
The James Bond of the books is rather different. Not only does he only have one watch, it’s not even a diver! He’s also nowhere near as fashion-savvy as the wardrobe department make Daniel Craig’s 007 out to be. Most of the time Fleming’s Bond can be found in the same outfit- a dark blue suit, white shirt, and black knitted tie (which he pairs with open sandals in Thunderball, so yeah, he can dress rather oddly at times). On top of this, his car of choice is not a swish new Aston Martin, but a 1930 “Blower” Bentley, which appears in three of the novels.
This is hardly a man who would go out every couple of years and buy a new watch costing £4,000 plus, just because he could. Instead, he’s a man to buy something for life. He’ll choose the best option he can afford and wear the hell out of it. So what would he wear today? Well, I’ve chosen 4 options that I think would suit the tastes of Bond’s original incarnation.
Rolex Explorer Ref.114270
Perhaps the most obvious choice for Bond is what was closest to what he wore in the books, the Rolex Explorer. However, this 007 wouldn’t stand for going on a waitlist. If anything, Bond would see it as the height of snobbishness. Therefore I’d think he’d wear the older model ref. 114270, rather than the newer ref. 214270. He’d have bought it years ago, when you could just walk into a shop and buy a steel sports Rolex.
Omega Aqua Terra
For my second option I’d go with Omega, and not just because they’ve paid to be Bond’s brand of choice for the past 24 years. Despite the product placement Omega make some damn fine watches and, more importantly, one’s which are readily available to purchase. Omega’s 38mm Aqua Terra has all the features Bond would need in a watch. It’s water resistant to 150m, so he could swim and dive in it. It’s got plenty of lume for great legibility, and it’s a chronometer. Overall it’s a fine choice for a secret agent’s sole timepiece. So much so that Daniel Craig wore one in both Skyfall and Spectre.
Tudor Black Bay 36
My next choice is a little more out there. Tudor are generally considered a step down from Omega, but I think I could see Bond opting for one if he couldn’t justify the £4,610 the Aqua Terra costs. At a more affordable £2,170 it’s a decent everyday watch from a brand with a good deal of heritage, but the savings come at a cost. The watch is not a certified chronometer, and it has a smaller power reserve at 38 hours to the Omega’s 55. However, all in all, it essentially offers what 007 is after.
I’ve saved the least likely choice for last, with the Monta Triumph. Whilst Bond likes the best, and that often means he opts for very well-known brands, he occasionally goes for more niche names. A case in point would be Bond’s fondness for Taittinger champagne, which he remarks to Vesper Lind in Casino Royale is not a well-known brand, but that he thinks it is the finest champagne in the world. Therefore I don’t think it’s unreasonable for him to wear a Monta, were he to come across the brand and find that it resonated with him. The Triumph offers similar specs to the Black Bay 36, and Monta push the finishing of their watches to the max.
So there we have it, 4 alternative watches that I think Fleming’s James Bond would wear. They all have certain elements in common with one another, and represent the idea of a “go anywhere, do anything” watch that seems to appeal to Bond. Of course, I think that that’s what these watches are all trying to be. They’re all a killer blend of elegance and functionality that you can dress up or down.
Of course despite all my theorising Daniel Craig’s Bond will be wearing the new Seamaster 300 in No Time To Die, whilst Lashana Lynch’s 007 is the one sporting the Aqua Terra. This is something which I think reflects how what is considered “masculine” has changed considerably over the decades.